Five civilians killed in rocket attack near Baghdad airport
Five civilians, including two women and three children, were killed in a rocket attack near Baghdad airport on Monday, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said.
No group has said it fired the rocket. But the airport, which includes a US military base, is often the target of attacks blamed on Iran-backed militias opposed to the American presence.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered the suspension from duty of security forces at the airport following Monday’s incident.
Mr. Kadhimi called for the enhancement of efforts “to limit these crimes that terrorise citizens” and promised not to allow “these gangs to wander freely and tamper with security without receiving their just punishment”.
The ministry’s Joint Operations Command said in a statement that two Katyusha rockets landed on a house in the Radwaniyah area.
Two other children were injured in the attack, the ministry said, adding that the rockets were launched from Jihad neighborhood in Baghdad.
Rockets often target the US embassy in Baghdad, within the heavily fortified Green Zone, and US troops present in Iraqi bases as well as the Baghdad airport. Roadside bombs have also frequently targeted convoys carrying equipment destined for US-led coalition forces.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly warned President Barham Salih in a telephone call last week that the embassy would be closed if the attacks continued.
Meanwhile, Iraqi intelligence sources have blamed the attacks on a small group of hardline Iran-backed armed factions. The disparate nature of Shia fighters following the US assassination of Iranian General Qassim Soleimani and Iranian Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis has complicated Iraqi efforts to clamp down on rogue armed elements.